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Opinions of Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Columnist: Hafizdeen Akram

Choosing money over loyalty: The Upper West Regional NPP Executive elections chapter

The outcome of the Upper West Regional Executive Member Elections of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) conducted, and results declared, at the Upper West Regional Library on Monday, April 23, 2017 justifies the saying that, ‘money can buy anything’ including the conscience of an NPP delegate [emphasis mine].

Background

I learnt one granduncle of mine called Basilide Kangberee who in the past two years was yet not known by the NPP Party members in the Upper West Region has been elected the Party’s Regional Chairman at the said election scheduled and conducted with the details above.

His first appearance in the region was in the middle of 2017. Now he is the Regional Chairman. It is said that he thrusted his financial muscles, by the fist, to many and they couldn’t resist it. He brought enough money, bought delegates and won the so called fiercely contested election with ease.

It’s alleged he invited all delegates to a dinner at a place called Jirapa Dubai where all, except some 60 delegates, attended. There, they dined and listened to sugar-coated promises of party office for each constituency, two pockets of roofing sheet for each delegate and some amount of cash to be given at a later date.

Construction experts were brought to explain the office designs to the attendee audience. Then afterwards, each attendee received GHS500 and the meeting was closed. Between the first meeting at Dubai and the election, it has become common knowledge that mobile phones and an amount of GHS2,000 were distributed.

Factors to Consider

I’m going to consider the Regional Chairmanship position in this case because it’s at that position the gaps between the winner and the other aspirants are unimaginably great. For one aspirant to attain as high as one hundred and thirty-three times more votes than another leaves much to question: What must have been the reason?

Is this got to do with loyalty issues? Are the losing contestants new to the delegates? Haven’t they ever contested or served the party in any way under any known or recognised capacity? Have they not been with the grassroots through the woods? Have they not fought together to attain victory for the New Patriotic Party in the Upper West Region in the immediate past election?

If all of these questions are legitimate, then why must all those toils be thrown to the bins? Is loyalty no longer of any essence? I say No! It isn’t of essence when it comes to NPP Executive Elections. We just observed one yesterday. It’s rather money that’s of immeasurable essence. Everything a candidate needs to gain loyalty of party delegates was (still is) possessed by all contestants at yesterday’s election except Basilide Kangberee, ‘the money man’ as he’s fondly called by people who are zealously enthusiastic about his course. I thought the appropriate phrase for him would rather be ‘the conscience buyer.’

Ungrateful and Hungry Delegates

What happens to the gratitude buds in your conscience? Don’t they secret gratefulness any longer? If you people were wise enough to have formed a force to win five seats, at once, for the NPP, why then aren’t you informed enough to know that this isn’t the course to thread? All of you have always identified yourselves with the NPP’s Upper West victory of five parliamentary seats. That’s why I call all of you wise team members, but I actually don’t consider you as such. This may seem to many a contradictory statement but it’s not. Only the few among you who own their conscience and were decisive at the election would understand.

You delegates were elected after the victory of NPP at the 2016 Elections. No wonder, if you were the kind of leaders NPP took to Election 2016, the party would have no victory. You know why? You would have advised for vote buying which your party hadn’t the financial muscle to do. The Victory you guys claim now would not have been yours. You still would have been languishing in the hunger you thought you were in before Basilide Kangberee intervened.

The Consequences of Your Action

The man you have elected Regional Chairman is an international businessman and knows how, when, what, where and why to invest his money. You are delegates and you don’t know the power of your thumbprint? Next time you think of messing up, consult some elderly minds. You may limit the resultant damage. My little advice for you free-of-cost.

None of you has sat back to ask why this man, upon his immense riches, never contested any position in the party when you were in opposition. Okay, perhaps, he might have been sponsoring the party financially behind the veil. If not, then he would have seen you to be so gullible to be influenced. And truly you have confirmed it.

If there’s any man from among you who can hold this man to account on any issue in this bought position of his, say aye and I will challenge you to a bet that you can’t ever win. You know why? It’s because he has bought and owned your power to ask relevant questions, your reputation, your sacrifice to the party and every other thing you prided yourselves on, for the song.
In order to be fair, I need to hear the other side. Hon. Kangberee, please I have some three questions for you and would be very grateful if you could respond to them appropriately. If you do, satisfactorily, I will write a rejoinder to retract some excerpts of this piece.

Here run the questions:

First of all, I know you had the financial capacity to contest for the seat you have won; the opportunity has presented itself because you have come at a time the delegates are hungry the most; I would want to know what motivates you to contest?

Also, you are this rich and we never heard of your support or philanthropic activities in the region before this election; why? Here, I may stand for correction.

The third and last, why contest now when the party is in power; where were you when the party was straggling to win power using all sorts of slogans and threatening statements?

Final Words

Those of you delegates who have sold your conscience and long standing reputation, if you knew you had it, for two pockets of roofing sheet, a dinner at Jirapa Dubai, GHS2,500 cash apiece etc. delegates will demand same from you when your turn comes for you to contest for reelection. Mind you the voters at your roots are now aware you make money at elections. Sir or Madam Politician your clock is ticking.

The burden will surely come. Let’s see what you’ll do when a day to your reelection date arrives. It sure will.

If you didn’t know the implication of what you have done, be reminded you have brought to the fore evidence that there is unbearable hardship in Ghana. Otherwise why would a whole respected constituency executive member of a ruling party sell out their conscience and freedom to think for a paltry and trashy sum of not more than GHS5,000? It’s a pity.

I thought the National Democratic Congress (NDC) will have had a tough time with you at the next polls. Little did I know that your smartness couldn’t pay for toffee.

It isn’t for any reason I’m concerned, but for the fact that you are the ones that will decide on who is appointed by the current government to rule us in the Upper West Region. This remains my utmost concern. Otherwise, do I care whether ‘the donkey remains obstinate or asks the reasons it should take the route approved by its master?’ I don’t think it will be proper for us to sit back and allow you sweep us all down the drains all in the name of party internal politics.

Upper west deserves better!